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Mica Use emotions energy constructively
WASHINGTON (4/24/09)—Whether you are a lawmaker or the head of a trade association, there will be a time when constituents’ emotion over a hot topic will have to be transformed into positive energy, said Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica in his latest monthly column in The Hill. Mica has experience in both roles. He is a former U.S. congressman representing Florida and currently in his thirteenth year heading CUNA. In his April “K Street Insider” contribution, Mica said that in both positions he has needed to be able to help those he represents to contain their strong feelings and find the right solution to a pressing challenge. He added that the country’s deep recessionary environment is demanding that those who work on Capitol Hill, or for constituency groups like CUNA, be more mindful than ever of heated emotions. He cited CUNA’s recent example of channeling members’ upset about some federal regulatory decisions addressing corporate credit union liquidity into positive action. Mica noted that the governing body for federally insured credit unions recently had to step in and take over two wholesale “corporate” credit unions. That action is funded through insurance assessments on the country’s 8,000 federally insured “natural person” credit unions. Never in his 13 years at CUNA, Mica said, has an issue generated as much e-mail from members. And some of the messages, he added, were quite heated. CUNA successfully turned the passion behind the issue into an email-writing campaign in which 15,000 messages were sent from credit unions directly to the three-member National Credit Union Administration board. One board member congratulated CUNA and credit unions on their grassroots approach to their concerns, but others at the regulatory agency were not happy to receive so many e-mails. “I explained to the agency’s chairman that expressing concerns in this way was more productive for us and for the agency than having our members storm Capitol Hill, which many were ready to do,” Mica said. “A prominent and savvy CEO said in a recent conversation: ‘A good leader never lets a crisis go to waste,’” Mica said.
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